"Prof. Kano’s penname, until he was 60, was “Kônan (甲南).” During his 60's, he wrote under the name “Shinkosaï (進乎斎)” changing it again to “Ki-Issaï (帰一斎)” in his 70’s.
The name “Kônan” was chosen after Rokko mountain (六甲山) near Kano’s hometown, and hence this was chosen as his first penname.
“Shinkosaï” was inspired by a phrase of Zhuangzi (荘子), an ancient Chinese philosopher. Echoing an ancient story regarding a cook who valued “the way” more than skills, Prof. Kano intended to include the value-based meaning in his penname “Shinkosaï” stressing the importance of pursuing one's path as a human being rather than acquiring skills."
You have to understand the classical chinese concepts and ideas of the hundred schools of thought (諸子百家), to draw your own conclusions, because as Kano was a japanese scholar at the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century the Laozi (Daode Jing) doesn't arise out of nowhere and also even translations of sinologists have their shortcuts, limitations in style and poetry, flaws, personal bias and affinities.
Kano emphases the "De" in a traditional confucian meaning as learning and selfperfection, benevolence and righteousness to contribute to a better society. In classical daoism the "De" of confucianism is rejected as a beginning of separation from the Dao and from naturalness and simplicity.
A man of the highest virtue does not keep to virtue and that is whyhe has virtue.
A man of the lowest virtue never strays from virtue and that is whyhe is without virtue.
The former never acts yet leaves nothing undone.
The latter acts but there are things left undone.
A man of the highest benevolence acts, but from no ulterior motive.
A man of the highest rectitude acts, but from ulterior motive.
A man most conversant in the rites acts, but when no one responds rollsup his sleeves and resorts to persuasion by force.
Hence when the way was lost there was virtue;
When virtue was lost there was benevolence;
When benevolence was lost there was rectitude;
When rectitude was lost there were the rites.
In the pursuit of learning one knows more every day;
In the pursuit of the way one does less every day.
One does less and less until one does nothing at all, and when onedoes nothing at all there is nothing that is undone.
Classic Daoism renewals "De" in its oldest meanings as power or old (highest) virtue (like arete in greek). There is a very well written long paper in english devoted to the developments and meanings of "De" in ancient china, written by Scott Barnwell (pdf file):
The Daoist "De" is more like the "shan" = zen as in "zeiryoku zenyo" as "good" and "virtuous" in a most matching/fitting way with nature, naturalness and simplicity and not as a human concept/idea to correct the way (dao) of society with etiquette and laws.
This kind of "De" is also very interesting for Judoka (at least for me ...), because of "best use of energy" or "minimum effort, maximum efficiency" and "to fit in in a perfect way".
The artisan Chui made things round (and square) more exactly than if he had used the circle and square. The operation of his fingers on (the forms of) things was like the transformations of them (in nature), and required no application of his mind; and so his Intelligence was entire and encountered no resistance. To be unthought of by the foot that wears it is the fitness of a shoe; to be unthought of by the waist is the fitness of a girdle. When one's wisdom does not think of the right or the wrong (of a question under discussion), that shows the suitability of the mind (for the question); when one is conscious of no inward change, or outward attraction, that shows the mastery of affairs. He who perceives at once the fitness, and never loses the sense of it, has the fitness that forgets all about what is fitting.
(translated by Legge)
His cook was cutting up an ox for the ruler Wen Hui. Whenever he applied his hand, leaned forward with his shoulder, planted his foot, and employed the pressure of his knee, in the audible ripping off of the skin, and slicing operation of the knife, the sounds were all in regular cadence. Movements and sounds proceeded as in the dance of 'the Mulberry Forest' and the blended notes of the King Shou.' The ruler said, 'Ah! Admirable! That your art should have become so perfect!' (Having finished his operation), the cook laid down his knife, and replied to the remark, 'What your servant loves is the method of the Dao, something in advance of any art. When I first began to cut up an ox, I saw nothing but the (entire) carcase. After three years I ceased to see it as a whole. Now I deal with it in a spirit-like manner, and do not look at it with my eyes. The use of my senses is discarded, and my spirit acts as it wills. Observing the natural lines, (my knife) slips through the great crevices and slides through the great cavities, taking advantage of the facilities thus presented. My art avoids the membranous ligatures, and much more the great bones. A good cook changes his knife every year; (it may have been injured) in cutting - an ordinary cook changes his every month - (it may have been) broken. Now my knife has been in use for nineteen years; it has cut up several thousand oxen, and yet its edge is as sharp as if it had newly come from the whetstone. There are the interstices of the joints, and the edge of the knife has no (appreciable) thickness; when that which is so thin enters where the interstice is, how easily it moves along! The blade has more than room enough. Nevertheless, whenever I come to a complicated joint, and see that there will be some difficulty, I proceed anxiously and with caution, not allowing my eyes to wander from the place, and moving my hand slowly. Then by a very slight movement of the knife, the part is quickly separated, and drops like (a clod of) earth to the ground. Then standing up with the knife in my hand, I look all round, and in a leisurely manner, with an air of satisfaction, wipe it clean, and put it in its sheath.' The ruler Wen Hui said, 'Excellent! I have heard the words of my cook, and learned from them the nourishment of (our) life.'
(translated by Legge)
Confucius was looking at the cataract near the gorge of Lu, which fell a height of 240 cubits, and the spray of which floated a distance of forty li, (producing a turbulence) in which no tortoise, gavial, fish, or turtle could play. He saw, however, an old man swimming about in it, as if he had sustained some great calamity, and wished to end his life. Confucius made his disciples hasten along the stream to rescue the man; and by the time they had gone several hundred paces, he was walking along singing, with his hair dishevelled, and enjoying himself at the foot of the embankment. Confucius followed and asked him, saying, 'I thought you were a sprite; but, when I look closely at you, I see that you are a man. Let me ask if you have any particular way of treading the water.' The man said, 'No, I have no particular way. I began (to learn the art) at the very earliest time; as I grew up, it became my nature to practise it; and my success in it is now as sure as fate. I enter and go down with the water in the very centre of its whirl, and come up again with it when it whirls the other way. I follow the way of the water, and do nothing contrary to it of myself - this is how I tread it.' Confucius said, 'What do you mean by saying that you began to learn the art at the very earliest time; that as you grew up, it became your nature to practise it, and that your success in it now is as sure as fate?' The man replied, 'I was born among these hills and lived contented among them - that was why I say that I have trod this water from my earliest time. I grew up by it, and have been happy treading it - that is why I said that to tread it had become natural to me. I know not how I do it, and yet I do it - that is why I say that my success is as sure as fate.'
(translated by Legge)